Twinking... good or evil, or in-between?

  • (Ok, this is from a post.  I'm going to work on it as a blog further, but am putting up what I have now.  This came from the forum where we talk about what might happen in the game, not what is set in stone.  How we will handle twinking is still up in the air at this point, which is why I'm bringing it here to this blog (and to my FB site) -- to get people talking about it, the pros and cons.  Lots of debate so far -- this is definitely one of those controversial issues, even within the audience Pantheon is targeting).

     

    Notes thus far:

     

    1. I repeat, that this falls into the 'not set-in-stone' section of development.  

     

    2. I brought up this issue because it's a big one with me and becuase I knew that even though Pantheon is targeting a type of user, that there are some issues that people within that type will still disagree on.  Those are issues we need to indentify and then determine what we are going to do regarding them.

     

    3. The issue of twinking may become much less of an issue depending on how and if we implement a 'more horizontal' content system.

     

    4. In general, if there are some core issues that even those people targeted by Pantheon really disagree on, the optimal answer would be to have alternate rulset servers.  One server could allow twinking, while the other not.  Being able to do this, however, depends on how many servers/worlds we launch with or add later.  Way too early to know that. 

     

    5.  If we had to switch back to a more 'modern' system of bind-on-equip, no-trade/drop, etc. it would not take a lot of time or resources, so this is something we can work with during alpha and beta without taking significant risk.

     

    Question: I honestly never understood why so many game developers go out of the way to stop twinking.  There are people who enjoy doing that and there are people who enjoy leveling up characters without the added help. To either player, though, the behavior of one should not have a bearing on the enjoyment of the other.  If twinking is not to my particular enjoyment, I simply won't do it, but that gives me no call to demand that you cannot.

     

    Brad:  I honestly do understand why:  they are afraid of the game degenerating into a situation where lowbies all have high level gear and there's no reason to do anything but the highest level content, because anything that drops in easier dungeons has now dropped so many times that just about everybody has one.  I've played MUDs when it was this bad, and trust me, it's no fun.

     

    But, neither, IMHO, is no-trade items.  Player driven economies are fun.  Some twinking is fun.  The key I think is to try to stay ahead of it, and to control the rate of MUDflation.  Make it so there are a lot of attractive things to do if you are a high level player and you're wanting to get rid of an item because you just earned a slightly better one.

     

    Quick note: there will still be no-drop/trade items when necessary. A good example would be a quest item.  It's unlikely we want you trading those around -- do the quest yourself! :)

     

    1. Situational gear should help here.  There is no ONE best sword.  There's one best sword for the situation and climate you are in. This means that you will be hoarding more items, and when you hoard, you're keeping the item out of the economy.  You may find some bracers that aren't generally as good as you have now... but instead of dumping them on a lower level player, you keep them because they have some crazy anti-confusion attribute... and while you've never been in an area with 'confusion' and while you're not sure what it will do to you... it still doesn't sound fun, and so you hide away that bracer in case one day you really do need it.

     

    2. Many quests to get that better item should require you to turn in your previous item.  

     

    3. There will be temples where you can sacrifice your item to the gods, giving you long term buffs that really help you in-game.

     

    4. Zone revamps:  some really good items should stop dropping.  Similar items may start dropping far, far away.  Some really good items may never drop again. This gets into collectability/good hoarding.  You may have some leggings that only dropped for the first month of the game.  We then removed that item from drop tables.  We then put a similar item, but called something else, and looking like something else, elsewhere in the world.  So maybe you're not necessarily a better tank or you may not do more dps than the guy who has the newer item... but you like wearing that older item because it shows you're old-school.

     

    5. Zone revamps (2): After there's been some MUDflation, put slightly better items into already existing areas.  And then make the mobs slightly tougher too.

     

    6.  You like the way it looks when you wear/wield it.  Remember, while we'll likely have cosmetic items that allow you to make your character look really cool in a social situation, the way you look when donning your actual play gear will be based on how that gear looks.  When you see a high level guy walk into a starting city you should be thinking 'damn, he's bad-ass -- i want to look like him one day'.

     

    7. Alts/Progeny System. First, let's just talk about alts. If we do a good job, you're going to want them.  You'll likely not be able to experience all of the world leveling up one character.  Yes, I know this is a little controversial... some people have argued that you are entitled to playing/seeing/experiencing the whole world with your one character.  I get it, but I can't agree. First, the world should be huge and should be added to via digital updates, expansions, etc.  So just physically checking everything out before you out-level it may be difficult. Secondly, do we want races to really matter?  One way they can matter is that certain races simply can't access some areas of the world (they're KoS, or something like that).  

     

    Progeny System? This is something we've wanted to implement going way back to EQ/Vanguard days.  It's not set in stone, and it probably won't be there by launch.  But I'm still going to talk about it, albeit briefly.  The idea is that you can retire a high level character, start an alt, declare that alt as a descendent and heir of the retired character, and then that alt has some advantages a regular new character or alt wouldn't normally have.  The trick here is he or she can't be too powerful.  But giving him or her some advantages could be cool... maybe a twinked item isn't quite as scaled down as it would normally be if picked up by a true noob character.  Maybe skills can go up more quickly.  Maybe they have access to certain exotic spells and abilities your first character had to search the world for... but now, you don't have to do it again.  Instead, hopefully you can focus on exploring and reaping from other areas of the world you couldn't get to before, or that didn't even exist when you were leveling up your first guy....  In any case, how this relates to slowing MUDflation is that now you've kept your bad-ass items in the family, so to speak.  You twinked yourself, which isn't potentially nearly as harmful as twinking a true noob.

     

    8. If we do a good job with the player economy, then money will have value.  For money to have value, there have to be things to buy from an NPC/etc. that are truly useful to the player.  Preferably, these items are consumable, meaning you have to come back and buy again.  If money has value, players will use it not just to buy items and consumables from NPCs, but they will also use it to buy items from other players.  How much will they pay?  Classic supply and demand.  How does this relate to MUDflation?  We need to make sure really good, rare items are sellable to NPCs (and the NPCs generally do not turn around and re-sell them) and that you get a decent amount of cash for it.  

     

    What does this all do?  Hopefully it provides you with lots of avenues... lots of options as to what to do with that item you don't think you really need anymore.  Hopefully simply twinking it down to a lower level character is the exception, not the rule, because you'd be giving up a lot of good things in return for your item just to make this other character a little bit better.  I bring up the 'little bit better' because items will scale to some degree in power.  If you twink a Fiery Avenger to a level 3 Paladin, he's not going to be able to solo an entire dungeon like a super hero.  Which brings up another controversial related issue:  Should that level 3 Paladin with the Fiery Avenger be 'as good' as a non-twinked Paladin who has the best item for his level, or should he be 'a little better?'.  I like the latter, but can argue both sides.

     

    Anyway, there's more... I'll continue to work on this here, as a blog.

     

    -Aradune

20 comments
  • Thump
    Thump Thanks for the insight on the topic, im sure we all have opinions on the subject based on how it affects us in game play and our likes ans dislikes. However its nice to see a devs slant on the subject.
    March 26, 2014 - 2 like this
  • killabits
    killabits If I could have one wish for PROTF it would be to allow twinking with the exception of end game gear and epics. The biggest reason I stopped playing EQ was because group buffs and items had level restrictions added to them.
    May 6, 2016
  • Ondark
    Ondark About the twink items i would add some type of skill system i.e. my lvl 1 warrior has 10 skill in armors and 10 in swords so i got a high lvl sword from a lvl 50 zone, i can use it but it would need like 250 weapon skill to fully use its potential i can...  more
    July 6, 2016
  • bobwinner
    bobwinner The idea of Progeny system sounds good, but it also defeats the idea of oldschool EQ epic quests, which I hope we'll get something similar in Pantheon. But then, you wouldn't want to retire your character with that epic item you've worked so hard for...  more
    November 29, 2017